In the years before its independence in 1991, Ukraine had been among the most industrialised, technologically advanced regions of the Soviet Union. Thirty years later, it was being rated by the IMF as the poorest country in Europe — its people poorer, on average, than those in many countries of the developing world.
Why did Ukraine’s transition to capitalism result in such disaster? Was this purely the outcome of an ill-conceived model of ‘reform’? Or was capitalism itself the wrong choice? Has ‘association’ with the European Union provided any answers?
As Ukraine battles invasion, knowing the ‘back story’ of its post-Soviet experience can provide a life-raft in a media space awash with simplistic propaganda.
(Downloadable PDF version – also available in print version)